PayPal Suspends WikiLeaks Account Yet Again; Freezes Assets

from the no-payments-allowed dept

Wikileaks is an incredibly useful and important site, but there are many (mainly in the government) who would prefer it go away. It’s somewhat upsetting to find out that PayPal has (for the second time) frozen all of WikiLeaks’ assets. Apparently, the last time this happened it took nearly six months to resolve. That seems problematic:

Paypal has as of 23rd of January 2010 frozen WikiLeaks assets. This is the second time that this happens. The last time we struggled for more than half a year to resolve this issue. By working with the respected and recognized German foundation Wau Holland Stiftung we tried to avoid this from happening again — apparently without avail.

Update: Wikileaks has now removed this message from its website, so it appears that things have been resolved. I’m a bit confused, however, as to why Wikileaks continues to use PayPal given this issue.

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Companies: ebay, paypal, wikileaks

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Comments on “PayPal Suspends WikiLeaks Account Yet Again; Freezes Assets”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Incorrect. You can have the money delivered to your bank via electronic transfer (takes 1 week, costs $1), request a check (takes 2 weeks, costs $1), or you can use the debit card they send you to remove funds via ATM.

The only ‘wait’ you might have as a merchant is the lag time between one bank confirming the transfer of funds to your account is valid.

Jonatan (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Holy ****
1 week for a transfer!? Thankfully, in Europe at least I have at most 24hr wait for transfers and no-one uses cheques anymore. We use plastic cards that magically transfer our money immediately – and they are usable virtually everywhere…

Why do Americans put up with such lousy bank service? I mean, there should be a better provider somewhere in the US!

Anonymous Leak says:

Re: Re: Re:

I would have though so too, which makes it strange that wikileaks seem so glib about hotlinking images on third-party websites, effectively web-bugging their own pages. This week it’s the thermometer, last week the paypal image was (bizzarely!) hot-linked from a fishing supplies website. And the video preview image means that youtube (google) also get a complete record of wikileaks visitors! Way to protect people’s privacy guys!

Nicholas Overstreet (profile) says:

Re: Any Financial Regulations Apply?

Paypal is not a federally insured bank, thus they do not have to play by federal banking laws. They play by their own rules, and is why any money I end up with in Paypal is immediately transferred out. A few years ago I had a nightmare experience where Paypal decided to freeze my account for an eBay auction which I had sold an item over $1k. There was nothing wrong with the transaction other then Paypal wanting proof I had sold what I said I had in the auction. It seemed very odd that Paypal would step in on it’s own accord with no issues from either party and just freeze an account like that, but that is what they did, and since then I have never trusted them with my money.

Ryan Diederich says:

Re: Re: Any Financial Regulations Apply?

I once had the same problem.

A friend gave me a PSP to sell for him and I did. Thank god I transfered the money out real quick, as they froze my account the next day, and wanted proof of purchase for the PSP. Of course, I didnt have it. And they wanted all kinds of BS like they wanted me to fax them the proof. Thats garbage. I eventually gave up and made a 2nd account. Foolishness is all I can say.

Vincent Clement says:

I’m surprised that Mike even bothered to post this as there is very little information. Mike’s link takes you to Slashdot which takes you to the WikiLeaks website.

On the WikiLeaks website there is this statement:

“To concentrate on raising the funds necessary to keep us alive into 2010, we have reluctantly suspended all other operations, until at least Jan 18.”

Sounds to me that WikiLeaks was in some financial problems before PayPal took action.

Steve R. (profile) says:

So Why Did PayPal Freeze WikiLeaks???

First, PayPal is an abomination.

Second, A quick review of various underlying articles did not explicitly disclose why PayPal took the action it did. For example “The last time we struggled for more than half a year to resolve this issue.”. But this “issue” was never explained. So what is (was) the issue??????

The Anti-Mike (profile) says:

Re: So Why Did PayPal Freeze WikiLeaks???

While I cannot comment directly on this case, I know that PayPal is very quick to close down accounts that they feel are being used for illegal activities. They don’t do notification or anything like that, they just lock up the account and tell you to pound sand.

Paypal is not a place to leave your money, IMHO.

interval says:

I avoid paypal whenever I can. Unfortunately, since it appears to serve as a cheap proxy for credit card services, a lot of online vendors use it. Too bad. I think twice before pressing that “Process Order” button when making an online purchase that requires me to use paypal. As an aside, paypal strikes me as being run by Russian Mafia who really want to get into legitimate business. Just my impression.

killing lawyers and actors is great ..try it says:

now how do they pay for the seedboxes

and suddenly negative on PayPal?
look hte real reason is some govt ass made noise a while back remember about wiki leaks?

now it takes time for the govt to move on you and guess what
they went for wiki leaks money

yup no story hear just wiki leaks should have more then one means to get and receive donations.

my bet hear is that its a multi pronged approach again and an attack to limit peoples freedoms again by obscurity

the mpaa and riaa won’t be satisfied people until they actually start causing people to rise up in revolution
just remember what the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy said

“and when the revolution came the lawyers were the first to go”, i’ll add then the actors and musicians that support the lawyer model.

mariush (profile) says:


I think a lot of people are reluctant to enter their credit card details to any site but are less reluctant to use Paypal and they trust it…

So it doesn’t help much to choose another service instead of Paypal, people will just be reluctant to use it and will ask for a Paypal account to donate to.

In my case, often it’s just easier to use Paypal because I don’t feel like searching through my pants for my credit card, type the number and verification code and so on – it’s faster on Paypal.

However, I made it a habit not to have more than 50$ on my Paypal account, just in case it’s hacked or limited and so on. I get my wage on Paypal and withdraw it the next day… The 20-25$ they take as processing fees for receiving about 1000$ is less than the fee my bank takes for processing a check and it doesn’t take 4 weeks to clear so it’s worth the risk.

Steve R. (profile) says:

Re: When Will a Business Die?

Actually, this is a very good question that few people really consider. Look at the automotive industry, or even look at Sprint. They have been perpetually dying.

We assume that the free-market responds fairly quickly to supply-demand, but the reality is that it does not.

One of my pet concepts on this, consumers to a degree do business on a RANDOM basis. The also purchase things with minimal knowledge and for the sake of convenience.

Considering that this country has 300,000,000+ people, quite a lot of business could do a profitable business base on the random selection of their products even with crappy products and poor customer service.

Danny (profile) says:

another data point

I emailed Wikileaks this morning about making a donation and inquired about a conduit other than PayPal. Received an email back from the wikileaks address this afternoon telling me that “Paypal has unfrozen our account as of this afternoon.”

They also said CC donation can be made at

They do not currently have US 501c3 status, but are working on it.

Rooker (user link) says:

Better question: It’s 2010 – why are there no competitors to Paypal? The model clearly works, so why isn’t anyone else doing it? The closest thing to a competitor that I know of if Google Checkout and that’s just for merchants.

Paypal’s policies and customer service are legendary for being horrible. Just imagine the tsunami of customers a competitor would see as people switched over to a similar company that doesn’t suck.

James says:

Merchant Account better than Paypal

Hello, well I suggest you guys specially business owners to not to risk their money with paypal as I had issues too in past using paypal merchant services and than I start to sell my stuff via online store at I suggest this to all business owners selling online and wanted to get rid of paypal merchant services as bcoz they hold payments for no reason and sometims its very stressful!

if seller is in high risk business like selling tobacco, pharmacy, time sharing, replica merchant account, travel merchant account services or any related field they better choose … thats their best bet!

I hope in future there will be many companies providing ipsp solutions so paypal cannot be alone in market taking all control over all merchants located world wide.

Bah says:

I’d like to make Assange my very own personal hero but while everyone is writing him checks and financing his lawyers and such, the GI kid that leaked the cables out to Assange is rotting away in jail. Who’s the real hero behind this whole story? No one’s writting checks to that guy or trying to bust him out of jail, he was just completely forgotten and overshadowed by Assange’s figure.

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